THERE are different kinds of clams. They have varying tastes as well. But if there’s something in common among them, it is that freshness determines just how good they look, smell and taste. The fresher you are able to get them, the better.
Just recently, my sister Swanie went with her friends to a seafood market, a bagsakan or wet market where freshly caught fish and seafood are sold at wholesale prices. Since we eat more of fish and seafood than meat, she brought home a treasure trove of fresh catch, including a whole kilogram of Pacific clams. They are a type of clam that you find in higher-end restaurants, sometimes simply stir-fried and sometimes cooked in tausi (black beans). When it is really fresh, Pacific clams have a natural sweetness and flavor all its own, and you do not have to do much to make it come out.
So, what we did with my sister’s whole kilo of Pacific clams was just stir-frying. Half of it, we enjoyed just like that, and half of it, she turned into a light and refreshing spaghetti dish. You can make a flavorful clear soup or a creamy clam chowder with it, even combine it with other seafood to make Spaghetti Marinara or Vongole.
1 kg. Pacific clams
2-3 Tbsps. vegetable oil
6-8 slices ginger
pinch of sugar
1 bunch sili leaves
1. Wash Pacific clams and soak in a basin of water to allow the clams to choke out the sand within their shells.
2. Heat wok or pan, and add oil. Throw in the ginger slices and cook until they release their aroma.
3. Add clams and stir-fry. Then cover with lid and allow clams to release their own juice and cook in the water and steam. Remove scum that rises to the surface.
4. Season with a pinch of sugar to balance the flavor of the natural saltiness of the clams.
5. Add sili leaves.
6. Discard shells that did not open, and enjoy the rest with freshly cooked rice.